Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) successfully led a coup against now-former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. He managed to eke out a “win” by rallying the entire Democratic caucus and eight Republicans to oust him. It’s the first time that has happened in U.S. history.
And it’s a total clown show.
Not only does it distract from the already tense budget negotiations, but it makes a laughingstock of the GOP—and the U.S.—and gives Democrats even more leverage to push through their radical policies.
Gaetz got a win, but at what cost? Sure, he’ll raise a lot of campaign money from this—he’s already sending out emails and asking for money on Fox News— but is there a plan going forward? Of course not. The two congressmen whose names have been bandied about as potential House speakers—Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Steve Scalise (La.)—both spoke on behalf of McCarthy ahead of the vote and then voted to keep him as speaker. McCarthy announced tonight that he will not seek reelection as speaker. Gaetz stated emphatically that he doesn’t want the job. At publishing time, Scalise had sort of thrown his hat into the ring, and some are floating Trump as the next speaker, but none of that will be sorted out quickly.
House Democrats and Republicans have been at a stalemate over budget negotiations. The continuing resolution will expire on Nov. 17. There will be another showdown and possible shutdown as the country races toward the proverbial fiscal cliff. Instead of working on that problem, Republicans will be squabbling over the speakership. How does that help the country?
Gaetz, whether intentionally or ignorantly, overplayed his hand. He’s being celebrated in some circles as the brave defender of all that’s good, but not everyone is on board.
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